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Bike racers a law unto themselves

Staff Reporter
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Speedster runs over a 6-year-old walking along with her mother

A rashly driven bike that claimed the life of a young girl at Moolamkuzhi, West Kochi on Monday night. —Photo: by Special Arrangement
A rashly driven bike that claimed the life of a young girl at Moolamkuzhi, West Kochi on Monday night. —Photo: by Special Arrangement

With great ‘power’ comes great responsibility. But that isn’t the case on our roads.

With recklessly driven bikers claiming the life of an IT official and a six-year-old girl in the city within a week, police are probing options to rein them in.

In the latest incident, a bike driven by 19-year-old Sharon of Mundamveli in West Kochi fatally hit six-year-old Cristeena as she was walking along the road with her mother in Moolamkuzhi on Monday night. Based on eyewitness accounts and statements given by shop owners, a Mattancherry Traffic Police officer said the rashly driven bike first hit a two-wheeler and then rammed into the child.

Though Sharon can be charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 of IPC, police have charged him under Section 304-A – causing death by negligence, a bailable offence. He is now in hospital with a fractured leg.

‘Lacks sense of safety’

Reacting to the incident, K. S. Baby Vinod, Assistant Commissioner of City Traffic Police said, “Reckless driving by youth is very common in West Kochi and steps are being taken to rein them in. Underage driving of two- and four-wheelers too is becoming common.”

Most often, youth riding powerful bikes don’t care two hoots when police signal them to stop. “They speed away and it is tough to even jot down their registration numbers. Even if we book them for an offence, their parents come to their rescue and manage to get them off the hook,” said another police officer.

He spoke of how a young bike rider lost his life over a year ago along NH Bypass after the bike rammed into a median. A few months prior to this, police had charged him with rash driving. Instead of warning the youth, his father blamed the police for unduly booking him. This emboldened the young man who rode to his death.

Stricter enforcement

The NH Bypass, Panampilly Nagar and Container Road are preferred corridors for bike and car racers, who often ride sans legible registration number plates. “So far, we have been levying Rs 1000 fine on rule violators. Two fatal accidents within a week show the need to register cases against them. We will also recommend to RTO to suspend their driving licence,” he said.

Of late, the police in the city have also begun to keep a tab on vehicles sans proper registration plates with the help of surveillance cameras and through discreet patrolling.

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